Citrus wasp eradication underway

Countryman

The eradication of citrus gall wasp is underway after a member of the public from Eden Hill sent infested citrus twigs to the Department of Agriculture and Food's Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS).

Confirmation of successful eradication will occur following surveys scheduled for autumn 2014.

Department research officer Marc Poole said citrus gall wasp (Bruchophagus fellis) was a native Australian species which had long been recognised as a pest of citrus production in eastern coastal regions of Australia but had never previously been recorded in WA.

"It is important we prevent the establishment of citrus gall wasp in Western Australia to protect the local citrus industry because severe infestation can result in greatly reduced citrus fruit production and tree dieback," Mr Poole said. "Department staff surveyed the infested Eden Hill property and surrounding properties within 150 metres of the initial find, resulting in six infested trees being identified.

"A subsequent extended survey of the metropolitan area including commercial and wholesale nurseries was completed, and a broad public awareness campaign was implemented to encourage citrus growers throughout the State to inspect their trees for citrus galls. This resulted in no further reports of the pest."

Mr Poole said the limited infestation and early detection of the pest were likely to help enable eradication.

"The department encourages citrus tree owners to keep an eye out for signs of the pest which can be identified by distinctive woody galls up to 250 mm long and 25 mm thick on citrus twigs. These can contain hundreds of larvae."

Adults emerge from infested galls over a protracted period from mid-September until early November.

Landholders who suspect gall wasp on their citrus trees are asked to call the department's Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) on freecall 1800 084 881 or by emailing info@agric.wa.gov .au

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